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Highmark Delaware to give $1 million to fight opioid epidemic

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BCBS DelawareHighmark Delaware has announced a plan to give up to $1 million in grants to organizations tackling the opioid epidemic in the state.

In 2018, Highmark Delaware gave a total of $325,000 in BluePrints for the Community grants — a donor-advised fund at the Delaware Community Foundation — to support four organizations that are on the front lines of the opioid crisis.

These grants and sponsorships support front line efforts including filling an emergency need for naloxone, community-based drug prevention and addiction treatment plans, and rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

Delaware has the nation’s third-highest rate of diagnosed opioid use disorder among patients who are insured by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). The prevalence of opioid use disorder among Highmark’s commercially insured members as of January 2019 is about seven per 1,000 people. The average for the BCBSA is 5.9 per 1,000 people.

“So many people across the country, and particularly here in Delaware have been affected in some way by the opioid crisis,” said Nick Moriello, president, Highmark Delaware “In response, Highmark launched our ‘war on opioids’ in 2018 to address this urgent problem through new programs, policy changes and partnerships that span across the Highmark enterprise and extend into our community.”

The second component of Highmark Health’s strategy emphasizes safe opioid utilization through new evidence-based medication policies, as well as ongoing monitoring and educational efforts for both members and prescribers.

Highmark uses a data-driven approach to monitor members’ prescribing patterns and identify potentially unsafe use of opioids and other controlled substances.

“Our focus on primary prevention and safe opioid prescribing empowers patients and providers to have meaningful conversations about pain management,” said Dr. Caesar DeLeo, VP & Executive Medical Director, Highmark Health Inc. “Our goal is for members to partner with providers to identify the most effective, lowest-risk treatment methods that fit their particular pain management needs.”

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